The Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions has
decided to bypass COI Communications, the body which handles government
agency appointments, to establish its own creative and media agency
The news is a serious blow to agencies on the DTLR roster, which include
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, D'Arcy, Rainey Kelly Campbell Roalfe/Y&R, and
MediaVest. As COI roster agencies, they now have to decide whether or
not to apply for the DTLR briefs.
While the government departments are not obliged to use COI for their
marketing, DTLR's decision is an unexpected move, which will spark fears
that other departments could follow suit.
However, Carol Fisher, the chief executive of COI, played down the news,
saying: "Clients are entitled to do this. We're not a monopoly service
but, clearly, the DTLR will have to demonstrate best value to the
taxpayer, as we do."
However, the IPA has expressed its dissatisfaction that the DTLR is
retendering its business only three months after COI finished an
overhaul of its creative and media planning rosters after a four-month
Bruce Haines, the president of the IPA, told Campaign: "As COI has gone
through a very exhaustive tender process so recently, it's a bit rich
for a major government department to then tender again - and include
those agencies that have already been approved."
Charles Skinner, the head of marketing and corporate communications at
the DTLR, said: "This is the only way to thoroughly test the best means
of providing services. Agencies who have spoken to me have been
supportive of it."
Some of the most high-profile government briefs are controlled by the
DTLR and AMV handles the bulk of them. The drink-drive and the "kill
your speed" accounts are handled by AMV, while energy efficiency is held
by Rainey Kelly, which produced the recent campaign that featured
farting lamp shades.